Only four Indian states have been able to surpass their renewable energy targets under the country’s plan to add 175 gigawatt capacity by 2022.
As of August 2022, Gujarat was the latest state to hit its target after Rajasthan, Karnataka and Telangana, according to an analysis of data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy by Ember Climate. It highlights that while renewable power, especially solar, is getting mainstream, the progress still widely differs by state.
India had installed 116 GW of renewable capacity by August. That’s 66% of the 2022 target, up from 60% at the start of the year. India is unlikely to achieve that target without including large hydro projects, which were reclassified as renewable energy three years ago.
The growth in 2022 has been led by strong uptake of solar power, with peak installations coming in March this year. The country added 17% more renewable capacity than last year in the first eight months of the year.
Still, despite record growth in March, installations have slowed as the government introduced basic customs duty on the import of solar modules and cells. Majority of India’s solar capacity comes from imports.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration now having ramped up their renewables target to 450 GW by 2030, a faster pace of adoption will be needed, according to Ember Climate. “India would need to install renewables 2.5 times faster to meet its 2030 target.”
To do that, India needs to add an average of 3.7 GW every month. The average monthly rate in 2022 has been 1.4 GW, with a record 3.5 GW in March.
“India’s solar rush earlier this year shows how quickly change can come,” Aditya Lolla, senior policy electricity analyst at Ember Climate, said in a statement. “In order for India to achieve its ambitious 2030 RE (renewable energy) and non-fossil capacity targets, the country needs to consistently hit such record numbers.”
Which States Need To Step Up?
Much of the shortfall in the 175 GW target is in just four states—Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. These states account for 38% of India’s target but have managed to achieve less than half of that.
“There was very little new RES (renewable energy sources) installed in these states in 2022 so far,” Ember Climate said.
“If Maharashtra continued building at the average rate from January to August this year, it would take the state 20 years until they meet their December 2022 target. For Uttar Pradesh, it would take 80 years; Andhra Pradesh would take 44 years and Madhya Pradesh would take 55 years.”